, including america's ambassador, chris stevens, the white hou. the white house described it as a mobile riot, talk bed, officials called it a terrorist attack, highly engineered and de deadly. abc's jake tapper has the details. >> reporter: that's right, george, and this 180 comes on the heels of criticism that the white house downplayed this terrorist attack, less than two months before the election. secretary of defense leon panetta today acknowledged that the attack that killed four americans in benghazi, libya, on the anniversary of 9/11 was not only carried out by terrorists, it was premeditated. >> as we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack. >> reporter: the white house first suggested that the benghazi attack was spontaneous. the result of that anti-muslim video inciting mobs throughout the region. >> jake, let's be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had been spread to the region. >> reporter: what happened at benghazi -- >> we certainly don't kn.